22 bodies recovered from battle area in Marawi: AFP
Government forces recovered 22 cadavers from the two buildings they cleared within the main battle area of Marawi City on Tuesday, a Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman said Wednesday,
Major. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the bodies were recovered after the military were able to clear the two buildings at the commercial area.
“Because we are able to clear it properly we give way for the entry of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO). We knew that from the two buildings there were 22 cadavers recovered. It includes the 18 from one building and four others on the other building,” he said.
Padilla said the military believes the cadavers were slain terrorists because the buildings were among the areas were the retaliatory fires come from.
He said government troops also recovered eight high powered firearms and dozens of improvised explosive devices from the two buildings.
“The PNP SOCO now is determining their identities and recovered also in the area are eight high powered firearms: two RPG’s (rocket propelled grenade), four M16s, one M4 and one M14 and dozens and dozens of IEDs. So this must have the place where these rebels have been manufacturing the IEDs that have been used in the remaining areas of enemy held territories,” he added.
Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., Joint Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander, said the recovered bodies were believed to be killed during the operation against the terrorist in the two buildings that began last week.
He confirmed that the military bombed the area before the troops conducted ground operation.
Padilla said the operation to clear the two buildings also resulted to casualties on the government forces.
He said an Army Special Forces 2nd Lieutenant Harold Juan, who led the assault was among the casualties in Tuesday's operation.
Padilla noted the possibility there are big targets and foreign terrorist among the recovered cadavers.
“There is a possibility that among the cadavers recovered, there could be a leader. There could be leaders,” he said.
“We cannot be too sure until we were able to get the result of the PNP SOCO (investigation) because some of the cadavers were can no longer recognized,” he added.
Padilla said according to the Joint Task Force Marawi there were around 150 structures or building that needs to cleared within the remaining five hectares at the battle zone in the city.
He said the military are still working for the rescue of around 42 hostages from the hands of 38 to 40 terrorist members in Marawi.
Padilla said based on their latest data, government fatalities have reached 160 while 802 terrorists were killed. Robina Asido/DMS